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Future Research in Acupuncture: Better Design and Analysis for Novel and Valid Findings

  • Tetsuya Asakawa
  • Ying Xia
Chapter

Abstract

Acupuncture has gradually found its way into the mainstream medical academia as a main therapeutic method of Traditional Chinese Medicine. Both clinicians and scientists have an increasing interest in acupuncture research. However, an important issue that holds back the progress of acupuncture is the weaknesses in the experimental design and statistical analysis, especially in the field of clinical research. This reduces the reliability of the studies that evaluate the effectiveness, safety, and mechanism of acupuncture; the aim of this chapter is to provide a methodological “guide” which shall prove beneficial for the conduct of acupuncture research. First, we have summarized the major methodological problems presented by the previous acupuncture studies and then have discussed the appropriate methods for the experimental design based on the principles of clinical epidemiology. We have also detailed some important statistical problems associated with the acupuncture study. At the end of this chapter, we advocate establishment of a new interdisciplinary, namely Clinical Acupunctural Epidemiology that will focus on the methodology of acupuncture studies and aid the future of acupuncture research.

Keywords

Experimental design Clinical epidemiology Clinical trial Evidence-based medicine Randomization Double-blind control Placebo Bias Confounding Jadad index Consort Clinical acupunctural epidemiology 

Notes

Acknowledgements

TA was supported by Japan Society for the Promotion of Science (Grant-in-Aid for Young Scientists, Type B, #20791025 and Grant-in-Aid for Scientific Research General, #24592157). YX was supported by the National Institutes of Health (AT-004422 and HD-034852) and the Vivian L. Smith Neurologic Foundation.

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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of NeurosurgeryHamamatsu University School of MedicineHamamatsuJapan
  2. 2.Department of NeurosurgeryThe University of Texas Medical School at HoustonHoustonUSA
  3. 3.The University of Texas Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences at HoustonHoustonUSA
  4. 4.Yale University School of MedicineNew HavenUSA

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